More common in children than adults, tonsillectomies are performed to resolve tonsillitis or strep throat. The procedure also helps with breathing problems like snoring and sleep apnea. However, it’s a costly, as it removes the tonsils. Patients often undergo a tonsillectomy after dealing with several bouts of tonsillitis or throat infections. However, are they as effective as we think?
Why Are Tonsillectomies Are Being Called Into Question?
The Vanderbilt University Medical Center conducted an in-depth systematic review of four papers on the subject regarding tonsillectomies. This study focused on how effective the procedure was towards helping children with sleep-disordered breathing and throat infections.
“It’s probably the most comprehensive study in tonsillectomy literature ever done,” said investigator David Francis, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of Otolaryngology. “We determined the lay of the land of what’s known and what’s not known about this extremely common procedure.”
After a thorough review of the illness rates in children who have had tonsillectomies versus those who waited for the infection to resolve itself, they found that the benefits of this surgery may not be long term. Schools experienced a reduction in absences due to throat infections during the first year after most kids underwent surgery, but that benefit did not last over time.
More studies found that the surgery was effective at treating sleep-disordered breathing, the risk was minimal and only a small amount of patients needed readmission overtime. However, what the researchers could not find is if these benefits were long-term. Most of the studies that do research into tonsillectomies do not follow patients after a long period of time.
There were too many questions left unanswered for the researchers to make a defined conclusion. Still, this procedure is the best course of action for children who suffer from tonsillitis frequently. See an otolaryngologist to learn more about the procedure and if it is right for you or your children.
Not Just a Procedure for Children: The Benefits of Tonsillectomy in Adults
Some children are prone to sore throats, strep throat, and tonsillitis. At times, these types of conditions are frequent enough that they warrant a tonsillectomy. This can prove to be a blessing for children as it brings much wanted relief. What about adults? A percentage of the adult population complains of frequent and painful sore throat. Missing days from work and school accumulate, and overall quality of life can be hindered. Is tonsillectomy for adults a reasonable solution to the problems experienced? An independent study was done that may shed some light on the topic.
European researchers found a group of individuals willing to participate in the study. Eighty-six patients who complained of frequent sore throat were closely studied. Forty-six of these participants elected to have a tonsillectomy. The others were part of the control group. Follow-up after the procedure was done at five months. Seeing as the patients chose to undergo surgery, the results may reflect a bias. Nevertheless, researchers are certain there was an overall improvement in condition.
For those who had their tonsils removed, only one complaint of a sore throat was made. When compared to the control group, where 80 percent complained of a sore throat at some point within those five months, there is a marked difference. Those who opted to have the tonsillectomy also showed improved numbers when it came to the amount of days from work and school missed.
While a tonsillectomy may be mostly associated with juvenile-associated sore throat, there is a slight advantage to opting for the procedure later on in life. For those adults who suffer from chronic pharyngitis or sore throat, this may be the help they have been looking for. Being a unique study, researchers intend to look a bit further into tonsillectomy for adults later in life.
A common condition that often goes undiagnosed is a voice disorder. Many simply ignore the condition or do not recognize it for what it is. Many have postulated that voice disorders are more common amongst females. This may be because of the fact that many women have jobs and responsibilities that require more time speaking each day, such as teaching, reception, law and administrative assisting. And some women are stay-at-home moms, and young children can keep conversations going all day with a simple question: Why?
What are the symptoms that reveal the beginning of a voice disorder? Don’t ignore it if you suffer from pain when you speak, have frequent sore throats, have difficulties in controlling the volume of your voice or have persistent bouts of hoarseness. You may also experience having to frequently cough or clear your throat while speaking. Smoking and frequent yelling are two habits that can both put a person at greater risk for a voice disorder and should thus be avoided.
What else can you do to help prevent a voice disorder? Be sure to drink the recommended amount of water each day. Keeping your throat moist is the best way to protect your voice. If you frequently have to speak to large groups (meetings at work, etc.), try having a PA system set up so you don’t have to strain your voice to be heard. Breathe properly and practice speaking from the diaphragm rather than straining your voice as well. Limit the intake of liquids that dry you out, such as alcohol and coffee. Finally, try not to overstrain your voice, as in shouting at concerts or sporting events.
If you start to experience symptoms of a voice disorder, don’t be afraid to see a specialist to have it checked out. Your ability to communicate is too important to ignore.
How many times do you have to wake up in the morning with a sore throat before it is time to set the cough drops aside and seek medical attention? It is a question that many who suffer from chronic sore throat ask. Because a chronic sore throat can be an indicator of a far more serious condition, the answer to the question needs to be: a brief period of time.
A sore throat can be a sign of the flu. It can also be caused by smoking. Sometimes pollutants are the culprit. Mononucleosis (often called “mono”) could be to blame. Allergies also often cause a person to wake up with a sore throat due to post nasal drip. While some of these conditions should clear up on their own, and others are correctable via lifestyle changes, if you have a sore throat that persists for a number of days, you should consult a physician.
If your sore throat is being caused by a bacterial infection, it is nothing to scoff at. Strep throat, if it is not treated using antibiotics, can result in a serious heart condition known as rheumatic fever. This is also why it is vital to finish your antibiotics when they are prescribed for a condition like strep throat.
If your sore throat is from the flu, it will probably go away after a few days. For those who are at high risk due to age or a compromised immune system, antivirals may be prescribed to help. These can lessen the symptoms of the flu and help the disease pass faster.
For a temporarily sore throat, something like a cough drop is usually sufficient to make the discomfort bearable. Something cold, like sucking on a popsicle, can numb the area a bit and make it more comfortable (plus you get to eat a popsicle). Warm drinks such as tea may also help. You can also take a pain reliever such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen. Gargling a little salt water may help a more severe case of sore throat.
Just be sure that if your sore throat gets worse or doesn’t clear up in a few days that you see your doctor to make sure it isn’t something more serious.